Thursday, August 2, 2007


Fifteen days after leaving for Vancouver, we are finally home again! BC was gorgeous, as always, and we had so much fun playing the part of eager tourists. Between the aquarium, the zoo, the beach, the pool in Auntie Danielle's backyard, the pier at Steveston, and all the other exciting things we did, our boys certainly had their fill of thrills. Vancouver still feels like home, and we fell into a wonderfully comfortable routine that I'm still missing days after we've left. And yet, it's GREAT to be back in Iowa. It feels so good to fall asleep in my own bed as I listen to the familiar groans and creaks of our sweet old house. It's nice to see family and friends again. I even like the heat and humidity. There is truly no place like home.

And I'm appreciating home now more than ever before because we almost didn't have a place to come home to.

The afternoon we were on our way home, a tanker of ethanol exploded on the train tracks near our house. We were en route, but apparently every home and business within a 1/2 mile radius was evacuated as the tanker melted into a twisted mass of molten metal. The fear: more explosions. One truck on fire is enough, but the inferno in question raged between two trains pulling 13 tanker cars full of ethanol and another 9 cars of gasoline. And, standing just behind the train tracks, there was a field of holding bins filled with anhydrous ammonia. In retrospect, a 1/2 mile blast radius was not enough. Had the tankers ignited, it would have gouged a hole in the earth where our lovely little town used to be.

I don't think I can really even grasp how dangerous the whole situation was. It's unfathomable, almost Armaggedon-like somehow. I keep imagining what it would have been like to roll into town at 3 am and find the mall, the city offices, Fareway... all gone. Terrifying.

I am so grateful for our local fire department and the 6 others that continually pumped water on the remaining tankers to keep them from igniting. (Apparently the fuel in the closest tankers was actually boiling.) I feel indebted to our rescue teams for their quick response and determination. I'm overwhelmed by the compassion of the men and women who fought to save the life of the truck driver. And I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit to spare our town a tragedy of epic proportions.

It all makes a great story, but praise the Lord that a different outcome exists only in my imagination and not in reality. Hmmm... do I see a book in all this?


  1. Oh my how scary, with this and the bridge. You know I did not know about the bridge until this afternoon. I had some really strange drams last night of water flooding a city and a bridge collapsing with a lot of people on it. I was telling my hubby about it this morning (I normally do not remember my dreams). Then when I hear the bridge story, I wonder if that was God's way to tell me to get up and pray...and I missed it.

    Well I prayed today. I am so thankful you are safe also!!!

  2. Wow, I can't believe how clueless I am... I also didn't hear about the Minneapolis bridge collapse until yesterday afternoon. We never watch TV and I prefer CDs to radio--I guess in some ways it's a blessing to be out of touch, but a hindrance in others. Anyway, here I am going on about an almost tragedy... My thoughts and prayers are with all those poor people affected by this true disaster.

  3. Wow - what a blessing that your home was spared in all this. It is so scary to know that things can go "poof" in just a split second.

    BTW - I am here via my friend, Laurel. She mentioned your blog. I read a little on your up-coming book "After the Leaves Fall" - looking forward reading it.

    Blessings to you and yours...